Category Archives: Big Ideas

New Group Launches w/ Party & Mission for More Women in STEAM Careers

A group of pretty awesome women have started the Technology Association of Oregon STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts and math) initiative and aim to kick it off right with a launch party on Thursday, June 1. The vision? TAO STEAM wants to form a network of Central Oregon professionals committed to creating a path for girls and women interested in STEAM careers — and a gender balanced future.

One of our favorite people, Maggie Hubbell, CEO of Agency Revolution and Chair of the Steering Committee says, “In the ideal world the term ‘women in STEAM’ wouldn’t exist. But, the reality is this issue does need special attention right now. We want to provide a supportive community that enriches the experience for women currently in STEAM careers and find ways to attract more women into these fields. Central Oregon has a lot of support around this issue and I believe if we work together we can really make a difference.”

Great Free Advice from These Experts at Next Week’s Startup Resource Fair

The BendTECH Startup Resource Fair is just around the corner — Wednesday, May 24 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — and attendees will get the chance to learn from experts in a variety of fields. The 10-minute Free Advice segments begin at 5 p.m. and include:

  • Tips for Crafting a Winning Investor Pitch, from startup coach Pam Stevenson
  • What to Know Hiring Your First Employee, from BBSI’s Eric Strobel
  • You Can Get There From Here, Strategies for Entrepreneurial Success, by Cascade Angel’s Julie Harrelson
  • Government R&D Funding for Small Businesses, from Oregon Best’s Leon Wolf
  • Startup Financing Tips, from Gary O’Connell at Summit Bank

3 Keys to Becoming a Successful Biz and Community Leader From Dr. Peter Yonan #Julieselfie

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

I first met Dr. Peter Yonan at a Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend event.  His civic engagement is a great benefit to Bend. Professional services providers such as dentists and other health care providers, attorneys, CPAs and other small business providers are a key part of what makes our community a great place to live, work and invest. We recently caught up for a conversation about moving, being seasick and how being driven by a vision for a better world creates success.

BendPoly Rebrands, Expands as GreenFig University in Multiple Cities

The founders of BendPoly debuted GreenFig University, an expanded version of the two-year-old digital marketing school, today at the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco. GreenFig University will offer micro degrees in digital marketing related topics and more, including customer success, product, sales and finance.

From the news release:

GreenFig University is the outcome of a highly successful two-year pilot program called BendPoly (www.bendpoly.com), located in Bend, Ore. More than 40 students participated in the BendPoly program with Marketo as a major sponsor and supporter. To date, more than 80 percent of the BendPoly graduates seeking roles in digital marketing have found positions in industry and government.

Bruce Cleveland, founding partner of Wildcat Ventures and co-founder of GreenFig University, says the first two years with BendPoly confirmed the demand from companies wanting qualified people to run Marketo and other digital marketing applications.

Tech Alliance of Central Oregon Rebrands, Refocuses as BendTECH

The Tech Alliance of Central Oregon, the nonprofit charged with developing and supporting Bend’s early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystem, has rebranded as Bend Technology Entrepreneurial and Coworking Hub (BendTECH). The name matches the noprofit’s flagship coworking space, BendTECH, and better reflects its mission.

“There’s a real need for support, resources, connection and events that help entrepreneurs go from idea to launch,” says BendTECH board president Taylor Mahony. “We wanted to deepen our focus and efforts in those areas, which seamlessly dovetail with our coworking initiative.”

Full disclosure: As a member of the BendTECH board and the coworking community, I find this news particularly exciting. At the least, it eliminates confusion around who/what the organization does. BUT beyond a name change, the BendTECH organization is now dedicated — and fired up about — being a resource for budding entrepreneurs via events, information, connections and flexible, affordable work space.

New Portland-Based Fund Invests in Women-Led Startups

There was some very cool news out of Portland this week, and I wanted to be sure that all of you StartupBend readers saw it. A group of women entrepreneurs, investors and lenders debuted the XXcelerate Fund on Tuesday. The fund is designed to fill the capital gap that many women entrepreneurs face.

From the XXcelerate news release:

“There is a crisis in access to capital and entrepreneurial support for women in the state of Oregon and nationwide,” said Robin Klemm, PH.D., Board Member and Executive Director, XXcelerate Fund. “And this gap is happening at a time when we see continuing proof points of the effectiveness of women business leaders.”

The fund’s founders surveyed women entrepreneurs in Portland and discovered that they faced distinct challenges in obtaining capital, despite their entrepreneurial chops. The survey revealed that:

Biz and Education Leaders Pursuing Entrepreneurship and Innovation High School for Bend

Sometimes the timing for things seems to be just right. That may be the case for a proposed magnet high school in Bend focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, aiming to open in the Fall 2018.

The concept is being developed jointly by Bend business leaders, local nonprofits Looking Forward and Opportunity Knocks, the High Desert Education Service District and the Bend-La Pine School District.

“What we’re excited about is that this is a partnership with our larger business community, and we’re really engaging with them in the design and concept of the school,” Jay Mathisen, deputy superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, said this morning.

Back to that timing. Jay says that the district was already in the process of considering how to accommodate its growing student body at the high school level. At the same time, Preston Callicott, Five Talent CEO (and resident community doer) and the folks at Looking Forward (a whole group of doers) had been discussing the potential for an innovation and entrepreneurship-themed high school.

Bend-based DubsLabs KickStarts On-Ear, Flat Headphones, Which Allow You to Hear Your Surroundings and Music While Skiing, Biking and More

The best thing about working in a co-working space is getting to meet people doing really interesting things. Today, that person was Eric Dubs, creator of Versafit, wireless, on-ear headphones. He launched a Kickstarter for the product a few hours ago, aiming to raise $35,000, to fund the headphone production.

I couldn’t help but walk over to his desk to learn more, after hearing his team’s excitement about their first backers. I’m glad I did, and you will be too. Versafit headphones are flat, bendable headphones that rest on top of your ears.

As Eric explains, this not only makes them more comfortable than traditional ear buds, but it also allows you to still hear noise from the outside. This makes them a great, safe option for people listening to music, who also need to be aware of their surroundings, such as mt. biker, skiers, snowboarders, or people just walking down the street.